Opinion: Kigali Amendment is necessary

Randy Richardville

At a time when many Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about America falling behind and losing the competitive edge that made it so easy to be proud of our great nation, it is important we seize opportunities that put America’s interests first. Fortunately, we have an opportunity to strengthen one of America’s oldest industries by asking our president do what he does best — put America first.

Among the inventions that have made America great is air conditioning, which has been keeping us cool since 1902. The larger industry of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration — or HVACR — is an economic engine responsible for over 2.5 million American jobs, almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs, and $621 billion of economic output per year. But, America may lose its tight grip on our leadership position in this industry without action on an important agreement known as the Kigali Amendment, which impacts technologies used in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration.

This amendment is an improvement to an international agreement developed and ratified by President Reagan known as the Montreal Protocol. As you may expect, American companies are already at the forefront in developing the next generation cooling technologies that will be used in homes and businesses across the globe in the coming years. With population growth, the international marketplace for this technology will more than double over the next decade. While this new market should increase demand for American made products, technologies, and expertise, we need the U.S. Senate to ratify the Kigali Amendment in order to fully reap all of the economic benefits.

For that to happen, President Trump needs to send it to the Senate to start the legislative process. We hope this is an easy decision for him. The Kigali Amendment will result in $5 billion in additional American exports and 150,000 new domestic jobs, including more than 33,000 direct manufacturing positions, according to a recently released study.

These economic benefits for American workers, their families and their communities meet the qualifications President Trump set for lending his support to a trade deal and that is why we encourage him to seize and bring home this win for workers in Michigan and across the country.

Michiganians stood for President Trump on Election Day and we hope he will stand up and take action on this important opportunity to support Michigan manufacturing for decades to come.

Randy Richardville is former Michigan Senate Majority Leader.